Southland Basketball Championship Odds & Picks: How to Bet Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. Southeastern Louisiana
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gus Okafor.
- Texas A&M-CC squares off against SE Louisiana in the Southland Tournament Final.
- The winner will go dancing after top-seeded Nicholls State was upset in the semifinals.
- Jim Root breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. Southeastern Louisiana Odds
|Texas A&M Corpus Christi Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Southeastern Louisiana Odds|
-110o / -110u
It’s shocking to see a Southland Tournament final in 2022 that does not involve Nicholls State. The Colonels were the best team in the league all season, had the best player in the league and had a bye to the semifinals.
None of that mattered to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. First-year coach Steve Lutz guided the Islanders to a resounding victory over the current league powerhouse. His Islanders dominated on the glass and made enough jump shots to win.
On the other side of the bracket, chalk prevailed. Two-seed Southeastern Louisiana frustrated New Orleans’ free throw-heavy attack and shot 63.3% inside the arc, eventually pulling away down the stretch.
Both teams are almost certainly playing for a spot in the First Four in Dayton as a 16-seed. That doesn’t matter to them. Texas A&M-CC and SELA have not been to the Big Dance since 2007 and 2005, respectively. A win tonight would earn each program just its second Division I NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.
The Islanders took a risk last offseason, moving on from head coach Willis Wilson after 10 seasons. In came Lutz from Matt Painter’s staff at Purdue. His new approach has energized the Islanders.
Like most teams in the Southland, TAMU-CC plays at a quick pace, getting up and down the floor in a transition game. The defense is also predicated on forcing turnovers, another staple of the conference.
Also similar to most league foes, the Islanders want to batter opponents in the paint. They lack perimeter skill, so they dominate the offensive glass and seek contact at the rim.
Undersized forward Isaac Mushila embodies the team’s approach as a whole. He ranks 18th nationally in offensive rebound rate and eighth in free throw rate.
Other standouts include Trevian Tennyson, the team’s most willing shooter, and Terrion Murdix, a smaller guard who lives at the charity stripe.
On the flip side, SELA is a more perimeter-based offense. That makes it a rarity in the conference and somewhat difficult to prepare for on a short turnaround.
That’s evidenced by the Lions taking home the championship in the Southland’s first-ever “pre-conference” tournament. Back in January, these Lions ripped off three wins in three straight days to capture that crown. This time, they only need to win two games.
The perimeter-oriented attack features several skilled wings capable of inverting the floor. Head coach David Kiefer largely eschews playing a traditional big man, and that opens up the court to have more driving lanes.
Joe Kasperzyk (JUCO/Bryant), Gus Okafor (JUCO/Longwood) and Jalyn Hinton (Division II/Jacksonville) are all matchup issues in this conference after transferring in from other programs.
Defensively, SELA compensates for its lack of size by playing a more compact defense than most Southland squads. It doesn’t force as many turnovers as league foes, but as a result, it also doesn’t foul as much. That cuts off routes to easy points from teams that desperately need them.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. Southeastern Louisiana Betting Pick
These two split their two regular-season meetings. Both teams showed obvious matchup advantages. SELA took 65 combined free throws, while TAMU-CC collected 39 combined offensive rebounds. Both have routes to score.
Even so, my favorite bet here is the under. The number indicates an up-and-down game, and both teams rank in the top 70 nationally in pace. But so did their opponents in the semifinals, and both of those games went well under the projected total (by 10-plus points) due to the shift in tempo that comes with postseason basketball.
For SELA, it was its slowest game since Jan. 29 and its slowest non-Incarnate Word game since Jan. 8. Similarly, TAMU-CC played its lowest-possession, non-Incarnate Word game since Jan. 20.
Additionally, during that pre-conference tournament in January, all four games on the final day played much slower and went under the total. I believe that’s indicative of how the pace will drop again today.
That’s especially true with both teams on a back-to-back and so much at stake.